Colorado State Business Students Tackle Global Issue of Safe Births, Win Multiple Business Competitions

According to the World Health Organization, about 60 million women in developing countries give birth each year with only the help of an untrained attendant or with no help at all. Many of these deliveries take place at home or in unsterile rural clinics, where the risk of infection is high.

An enterprise team, formed as part of the Global Social and Sustainable Enterprise program at Colorado State University’s College of Business, has developed a solution for this problem – and it has now won multiple business plan competitions.

The CSU enterprise team, AYZH, Inc. (pronounced “eyes”), is a social venture developing and distributing products to improve the health and livelihood of impoverished women in rural communities. The team’s first product, JANMA, a clean birth kit, is a $2 solution addressing the global issue of maternal and child infection and mortality due to unclean birth environments. The initial target market is Tamil Nadu in India, home to three million rural women living in poverty who lack access to clean birthing conditions.

Earlier this month, AYZH won first place at the Camino Real Venture Competition (CRVC) in El Paso, Texas, and at the Global Social Venture Competition (GSVC) at the Indian School of Business in Hyderabad, India. For the top finish at the CRVC, AYZH won $5,000 in cash, other prizes and a spot in Global Moot Corp.’s business plan competition in Austin, Texas, May 5-8. For the first place finish at GSVC, AYZH won an invitation to compete in the GSVC Global Finals, April 22-23, in Berkeley, Calif.

Along with finishing first in the two business competitions, AYZH is being featured in the 2010 National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance (NCIIA) March Madness of the Mind expo next week in San Francisco, March 26-27. The event includes a video competition in which the public votes on their favorite video by Friday, March 19. More information about the teams participating can be found at

“Our international management team is passionate about and experienced in making the lives of poor women better through technology and entrepreneurship,” said AYZH chief executive officer and founder Zubaida Bai, a mechanical engineer from India with more than four years experience designing and commercializing appropriate technologies for rural consumers.

“Our journey began in 2008 while in the Global Social and Sustainable Enterprise MSBA program at Colorado State University,” said AYZH co-founder Kellen McMartin, a senior communications consultant for Deloitte. “AYZH has since matured into a high-potential venture. Our dedicated U.S. and Indian board of advisors and employees have experience in supply chain management, sales and finance, and help position us to understand the needs of poor women, develop affordable products to meet those needs, and implement an effective business approach to make a significant and sustained impact.”

The College of Business started the MSBA program in fall 2007 to teach students entrepreneurial, sustainable approaches to address great global poverty, health and environmental challenges. The program ultimately could help some of the world’s four billion people who live on less than $3 a day with creating their own sustainable solutions and businesses.

Students in the MSBA program form enterprise teams and learn to create and sustain international business development opportunities with a triple bottom-line impact: improving the lives of people and the condition of the planet while building enterprises that are sustained by solid financials and profitability.

For more information about the GSSE program at CSU’s College of Business, visit